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Tossing. Turning. Trying to fall asleep. Then waking up multiple times in the middle of the night and having trouble going back to sleep. This is a struggle that so many people have to deal with each night. According to the CDC website, about 33% of adults in the US report not getting the recommended amount of sleep of at least 7 hours a night. [1] The importance of good sleep can not be overemphasized. Poor sleep impacts people not only from a day to day basis from being tired, but also long term as poor sleep is linked to chronic diseases, such as heart disease, depression, diabetes, and obesity. And, this is why so many people are turning to CBD for their sleep issues. But, does CBD really help you sleep better?

insomnia sitting on bed in the dark

What is CBD?

By now, you have probably heard or have seen the letters “CBD” on TV, the radio, magazines, and social media. It has become a very hot topic in the last few years. Unfortunately, not everyone knows exactly what CBD is.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 100 cannabinoids, or plant chemicals, found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Most people think of marijuana when they hear cannabis, but Cannabis sativa is the plant the both marijuana and hemp are produced from. The difference between marijuana and hemp is in the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the cannabinoid that causes the intoxication, or “high,” that people get when they smoke or ingest marijuana. Hemp has very low levels of THC, less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, whereas marijuana has more than 0.3% THC. Therefore, hemp and hemp products, like hemp-derived CBD does not get you high.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies. Our bodies actually product our own “cannabinoids” called endocannabinoids. The ECS is a very important system in our body that is involved in maintaining homeostasis, or balance, and helps our bodies function optimally. CBD also interacts with receptors outside of the ECS. Through these various mechanisms, CBD may beneficial in a number of health conditions, such as:

What Does the Research Say About CBD Use for Sleep?

There are a growing number of studies suggesting CBD can be helpful in providing better, more restful sleep. Some studies show that acute use of CBD can increase the overall amount of sleep, [2] reduce insomnia [3], help people fall asleep faster, [4] and improve sleep in chronic pain sufferers. [5]

In a 2019 study,[6] researchers looked at whether CBD could improve sleep or reduce anxiety. The participants were given a 25 mg capsule of CBD daily. In the first month 79.2% of people reported less anxiety, and 66.7% reported improved sleep.

In a 2018 review, the authors note that CBD can help relieve pain, and by reducing chronic pain, CBD can improve sleep.[7]

REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is a disorder where a person acts out their dreams, and can be associated with nightmares and poor sleep. In a 2017 review,[8] the authors noted that CBD may be helpful in RBD, and may be useful in treating excessive daytime sleepiness. Another study in 2014 [9] also found that CBD may improve RBD in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Another symptoms of poor sleep is grogginess or sleepiness during the day. CBD may potentially help with that as well. In a 2014 review,[10] CBD was found to actually promote wakefulness and lower doses (15 mg), while the sedating effects were seen at higher doses.

How Does CBD Work to Help Sleep?

CBD interacts with many different receptors, but for sleep, serotonin and GABA receptors in the brain may be the most important ones. Serotonin plays a role in mood and anxiety. For many, high anxiety can interfere with good sleep. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and can promote calmness and relaxation. CBD may also help sleep by modulating the sleep-wake cycle.[10]

How to use CBD for Sleep

There are several different ways to take CBD. The main forms are:

  • Inhalation: Vaping concentrates or smoking flower
  • Oils and tinctures
  • Capsules and pills
  • Edibles, such as gummies

Although the inhalation route allows CBD to enter your system the fastest, the duration of effect is also shorter. Also, by smoking flower, you are potentially inhaling harmful smoke and other substances. And, with vaping, there could be potentially harmful substances or contaminants inhaled as well. These may not be ideal for those with respiratory issues. And, there isn’t much research regarding vaping CBD.

The range of CBD doses used in the research studies is large. The mantra of start low and go slow should still be followed when dosing CBD for sleep. Do keep in mind that some studies found a lower dose of 15 mg of CBD actually promoted wakefulness, while other studies showed higher doses (160 mg) promoted sleep. Individuals are different, however, and the right dose for you may be very different than the right dose for someone else. Some people report sleeping well at doses even under 15 mg.

While many people report better sleep pretty soon after starting to take CBD, there are studies showing that for some people, it might take a month or longer to start noticing a difference in their sleep.[6]

Bottom Line

There are several clinical studies that are promising for using CBD for sleep, but longer and larger studies are needed to give us more definitive information, especially on proper dosing.

CBD does appear to be mostly safe for humans, but its effect can vary greatly between individuals, as well as the dose needed to provide benefit.

As always, it is very important to talk to your doctor before taking CBD, and really any medications or supplements, especially if you are already taking other medications or supplements, or have other health conditions. Your doctor is best equipped to be able to ensure adding CBD to your overall regimen would be ideal in your situation.

If you decide to try CBD, make sure it is from a reputable source, such as CBD Oil of Dayton. Here at CBD Oil of Dayton, we do not add any artificial flavorings or fillers, and our products are third-party tested to ensure you are getting the highest quality CBD products currently available. Click below to see what we have to offer.

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.html
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881112474524
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7028792?dopt=Abstract
  4. https://www.beyondthc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Tringale-Jensen-20111.pdf
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6277878/
  8. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11920-017-0775-9
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24845114?dopt=Abstract
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4023456/

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